Between Rome and Brussels

It is a delicate juncture that the Meloni government is going through, hinged on strategic institutional commitments, including state appointments and the EU Council in Brussels, but often disturbed by the usual ideological polemics, which at times the media seem to polarise excessively. The protest by some CGIL trade unionists to the tune of “Bella ciao” was an obvious demonstration of this. Nevertheless, Giorgia Meloni is drawing on all the expedients acquired during her long political militancy to resist the attacks, both on a dialectical and a political level, managing to keep her majority compact and her consensus high. The center-right’s granite vote for the premier’s report ahead of the European Council confirmed this. Giorgia Meloni’s leadership is heavy and strong. She has never lacked charisma, but what strengthens it in this case are the numbers, which she seems to be able to assert. As is happening in the case of appointments to state-owned companies, the real issue of the moment. There is talk of around 600 expiring roles, which will have to be confirmed or replaced in the coming months. And it is precisely on this game that the friction between the two main governing parties, Fratelli d’Italia and Lega. Meloni’s line seems clear: respect the balance of power, a formula that clearly leaves Via della Scrofa the absolute majority of nominations. The most up-to-date picture of the appointments, at present, sees the almost certain reconfirmation of Claudio Descalzi as Eni’s CEO, the return of Paolo Scaroni to Enel, but in the role of chairman, as agreed between Meloni and Berlusconi, and Igor De Biasio, a Lega member, as CEO of the Poste, replacing Matteo Del Fante. The name of Stefano Donnarumma, in Meloni’s share, is mentioned as the next CEO of Enel. Another major in which the premier is making her voice heard is Leonardo, where the name of former Energy Minister Roberto Cingolani was mentioned. One of the first acts of the spoils system is expected to be the presidency of Monte Paschi Siena, where Nicola Maione, in Lega’s share, is believed to be in place. The next will be Enav, whose new CEO could be Pasqualino Monti. And the women? Meloni had indicated this as a target: according to rumours it could be Roberta Neri, in the Fratelli d’Italia quota, as managing director of Terna.

In these hours the Lega is trying the “siege” to try to shuffle the cards a little, but it will not be easy. On the other hand, the Democratic Party, having completed its set-up, seems to be taking measures with the opposition line, which is still not entirely clear, especially on sensitive issues such as the sending of weapons to Ukraine and surrogacy, two key topics of the moment on which Schlein will have to confront the Catholic wing of the Nazareno.

With her thoughts fixed on Rome, however, Meloni had to fly to Brussels for the European Council and on Thursday she scored a diplomatic coup: the thaw with Macron, with whom she held a bilateral meeting lasting over an hour and a half. After the recent discontents between the two countries, tensions and misunderstandings had to be dissolved. The long face-to-face meeting took place in a hotel in the centre of Brussels. Among the topics at the centre of the talks, it is understood, were the management of migratory flows, support for Ukraine, European industrial policy, energy and the reform of the Stability and Growth Pact.

The news that Meloni branded as “very good” after the first day’s proceedings was the one on the migrant issue: the draft conclusions calling on the EU Commission to move ahead quickly and postponing the next Council meeting in June on the state of play of these measures. A suffered victory? We will know in June, but certainly immigration seems to have become a central issue for the Union. And politically this was the news that interested Italy.